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'You can't give in': an incredible story of faith and forgiveness by NBA coach after wife's tragic death

'You can't give in': an incredible story of faith and forgiveness by NBA coach after wife's tragic death

"Dude. This was a hard read. Never take anything for granted, because every normal day is a blessing."

I first heard about Sports Illustrated's in-depth feature on former Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams when my son Brady tweeted the above comment.

Then my friend Darin Campbell posted a link to the same story on Facebook with this note: "If you read one thing this week, read this." One of Campbell's friends followed his advice and replied:  "I'm not sure there is a verbal response for this."

Amen.

Suffice it to say that Sports Illustrated senior Chris Ballard dives deep and insightfully into the life and mindset of "Monty Williams, the woman he loved, and the power of persistence."

Interest in the story of Monty and Ingrid Williams has been extremely high, of course, since the tragic death of the coach's wife 14 months ago. I wrote more than 200 GetReligion posts in 2016, but my most-clicked one concerned holy ghosts in initial reporting on the Williamses.

Days later, Monty Williams' faith-filled remarks at his wife's funeral at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City rocked the sports world.

Now comes the Sports Illustrated piece, which fills in the gaps of Monty and Ingrid Williams' journey — before, during and after the events of Feb. 9, 2016 — in a way that's hard to explain.

You just have to read it:

 

 

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A grieving husband. A stirring eulogy. The video that rocked the sports world

A grieving husband. A stirring eulogy. The video that rocked the sports world

On Friday, I drove from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, to visit my parents. Somewhere along Interstate 35 south of the Red River, I flipped the FM dial to a Dallas sports talk station.

I hoped to hear discussion of my favorite team, the Texas Rangers, arriving at spring training and the outlook for the upcoming season.

Instead, I found myself mesmerized by two sports talk hosts focused on faith and forgiveness — and the rousing eulogy that Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams gave for his wife, Ingrid, on Thursday.

"I'm jealous of someone with that kind of faith," said one of the hosts, as questions of life and death suddenly trumped draft picks, trade deadlines and even the Dallas Cowboys.

In this space 10 days ago, I pointed out holy ghosts in the initial media coverage of Ingrid Williams' death in an Oklahoma City car crash.

My previous post went a little viral, receiving thousands of clicks after Monty Williams' funeral remarks, as folks searched for more details about the family's faith.

The coach's eulogy certainly grabbed the sports world's attention:

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Tragic death of NBA coach's wife Ingrid Williams and a missing element in the news

Tragic death of NBA coach's wife Ingrid Williams and a missing element in the news

That could have been my wife.

Rightly or wrongly, many of us tend to judge tragedy by how close to home it strikes.

For me, that's the case with the death of Ingrid Williams, wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams.

Ingrid Williams was 44, about the same age as my wife. She was driving with her kids — about the same age as mine — on an Oklahoma City street that my family travels often. She was an innocent victim — hit head-on by a vehicle that veered into her lane. She also was a person of strong Christian faith.

In its initial coverage, The Oklahoman reported the news this way:

Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams died Wednesday from injuries suffered in a multiple-vehicle car crash Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
“The Thunder organization has heavy hearts tonight with the news of Ingrid's passing,” the Thunder said in a statement released Wednesday evening. “Words cannot adequately describe how deep our sorrow is for the loss of Monty's wife.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty and his family, and we will support him in every way possible. We know the entire community of Oklahoma City has them in their prayers.”

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